Star Wars: X-Wing
Adam: A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away (well, our own galaxy actually), a man named George conceived of an epic space opera that would take the world by storm. It would reach nearly every society and indwell itself into every nook and cranny of popular culture… including tabletop games.
Steven: Star Wars: X-Wing is quickly becoming one of my favorites. As a longtime fan of the Star Wars franchise, the theme of this game obviously appeals to me greatly. However, the mechanics of this game are so cool that I really don’t think it would matter what ships, planes, etc. I were playing with; it would still be a very enjoyable experience.
Adam: The force is certainly strong with this game, and I totally agree. Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan boy or girl, the game play is so engaging that I dare say it would turn even the most skeptical of players. It works like this. Each player chooses to align themselves with one of three factions; the Imperial Forces, the Rebel Alliance or the Scum and Villainy. Each faction has inherent strengths and weaknesses derived from the films and lore that will have any novice Star Wars historian hooked before the first turn of the game. Like the commander of a squadron, each player will then select a number of pre-painted ships from their arsenal, assign pilots and ratchet on crucial upgrades. In this way a ship’s value is determined by its crew and equipment, thus allowing players to customize their fleet as they see fit while at the same time maintaining game balance.
This is the first level of delicious strategy in a back and forth tactical layer cake of space combat. Movements are selected in secret and then carried out using one of the many custom rulers provided in the core set. This inevitably leads to near misses, spectacular collisions and glorious flanking positions that leave nothing between you and the rear end of your opponent’s ship.
Steven: One of my favorite aspects of X-Wing are the miniatures themselves. Fantasy Flight did a fantastic job of recreating a wide variety of various ships within the Star Wars universe that are not only close to scale but also have impeccable detail. Whether you play the game or not, these ships make for great collectable items for any Star Wars connoisseur. Plus, along with each ship expansion you purchase you also receive several pilot cards that include famous aviators such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Wedge Antilles and Boba Fett. With the ships, the pilots and the variety of crew/weapon upgrades, this game offers you a lot of customization possibilities with each round of play.
Adam: Additionally, pilots are capable of performing extra actions like barrel rolls, boosts and target locks prior to opening fire on their opponents. Firing and evading are done with custom eight sided dice, and as with movement, the skill of each pilot determines firing order. The distance between ships may also allow for offensive and defensive bonuses, thus making the movement phase of the game as important as any. In a clever thematic twist, you may even experience critical hits. This means your ship will suffer an effect like structural damage or a localized fire, adding so much thrill, frustration and thematic reward you can almost smell the burning wires as you try to extinguish your cockpit.
Steven: Ah yes, I can smell the scorched metal now… but seriously, this is a great game to play with friends and has a level of cooperative play when participating in team battles that I rather enjoy. Different scenarios, from a pure dogfight to capturing a Rebel transport craft or even killing an Imperial Admiral who’s on board a Star Destroyer, are all capable of being carried out, which makes for an entertaining experience by adding yet more variety to the game. So don’t be surprised if one of us here at the Board Game Point of View goes dark for a while. It’s probably just because we are in rehab for this fantastic game.
Want more insight? Check out Episode 1 – The First Cast from our podcast library.